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Age of Empires III

by Microsoft
Windows XP
Teen
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (280 customer reviews) 81 / 100

Price: $31.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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  • Start out playing as the British and begin with a solid economy, or lead the French into an easy alliance with Native Americans - 8 total civilizations to choose from
  • Work with Native Americans to your tactical advantage, for the first time ever
  • Develop your own Home City, and customize it make it wealthier and more powerful as you take over Europe
  • Explore the New World and create colonies while seeking out new resources and making alliances with the Native Americans
  • Recover buried treasure from the Caribbean, hunt bison on the Great Plains, compete for trade routes and fortify the coast of New England

Frequently Bought Together

Age of Empires III + Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties Expansion Pack + Age Of Empires Collector's Edition (Limited Edition)
Price for all three: $88.03

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Product Details

  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B000AB603U
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.5 x 2 inches ; 3 pounds
  • Media: CD-ROM
  • Release Date: October 18, 2005
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (280 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,234 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes

Product Description

Amazon.com

It's the dawn of a new age in real-time strategy (RTS) games. A brave New World is rising--a hostile yet beautiful world, filled with innovative gameplay, new strategic scenarios, eye-searing graphics and much more. Welcome to a world called Age of Empires III.

Campaign
In this action adventure tale of historical fiction, players take on the role of Morgan Black and his family, struggling against the hostile wilderness and a mysterious cult that's crept in from Europe.

In a series of 24 scenarios divided into three acts, Morgan Black and his descendants help the Aztecs resist conquest by Spanish conquistadors, pit the French against the British in the French and Indian War and help Simon Bolivar lead revolutions in South America.

Multiplayer
Whether you're searching for a quick game or hoping to talk strategy with friends online, Age of Empires III's Multiplayer site is your community destination.

Here, you can play with persistent Home Cities that gain power and strategic options the more games you play, compete for a spot on dozens of ladders, help organize your clan or chat after a game -- all without leaving the multiplayer portal.

Fans of Age of Mythology's Quick Search can still look for games swiftly, while players looking for something specific can browse game lists to find the set of options that matches their tastes.

New Feature--Home Cities
?This revolutionary new feature to the RTS landscape is incorporated into all aspects of Age of Empires III -- from Campaign to Multiplayer -- and is unlike anything you've experienced before.

Much like the persistent character from a role-playing game that encourages you to keep playing, your Home City is an important support system to your efforts in the New World. During a game, your Home City can regularly send you supplies or military reinforcements.

You are the leader of your colony, but your success brings glory back to Mother Europe. The more games you play, and the better you do, the more powerful your Home City will become. Every few games, you gain the ability to both upgrade and customize your Home City:

  • Upgrade your city by unlocking new types of soldiers or buildings, or improving those you already have.
  • Broaden your tech tree in whatever direction most fits your play style--invest in warships, native alliances, cavalry, artillery or economy.
  • Customize your Home City by changing the appearance of buildings, the weather or even the types of people who walk, work and perform in its streets.
  • Throughout a game, as well as in between games, you can visit your Home City to watch its citizens go about their lives, get an opinion on how you're doing, plot your next move or just marvel at the beautiful sunset.

Full 3-D Graphics, Destructible Environments and More
?We first set out to reproduce the rich detail of Age of Empires II: Age of Kings. As we strove to make the fascinating Age of Empires III time period come alive, that goal quickly evolved: We at Ensemble Studios wanted to create the best-looking game ever. From the stunning water effects to the hundreds of units battling on-screen, you'll feel like you're a part of the action in the New World.

  • Tone mapping--This photo imaging technique balances the colors in a scene on the fly. The end result is a rich, warm game where bright colors are vibrantly rendered alongside darker counterparts, such as shadows.
  • Lighting and shadows--The sun is always shining in Age of Empires, so it's important that lighting and shadows be an awe-inspiring experience. Units and buildings cast shadows according to a real sun position, and even cast shadows on each other. High Dynamic Range rendering allows us to represent the shiny glints of sunlight that bounce off highly reflective surfaces.
  • Bump and specular mapping--Water glistens like water. Metal shines like metal. These advanced techniques serve to provide an extra level of rendering detail heretofore unseen in real-time strategy (RTS) gaming.
  • Water--We felt that portraying stunning, realistic water effects in the game was so important that we devoted a programmer to it full-time. You'll find the water rich with details like foam near the shore, accurately modeled water motion, flotsam in rivers and realistic water colors. Plus, reflections change with the viewing angle, the angle of sunlight and the motion of the water. The overall effect is breathtaking.
  • Cliffs and Riverbeds--Instead of just stretching terrain, we built a system to attach geometry to the terrain map to allow for realistic overhangs and steep cliffs, from areas like the American Southwest. This effect is supported on random maps too.

Civilizations

British
Quick access to Settlers gives the British one of the strongest economies in the game. The ability to upgrade two key units -- the Musketeer and Hussar -- make the British military formidable in the late game. The British Home City emphasizes improvements to technology and naval warfare.
Dutch
Although Dutch Settlers are limited and costly, their civilization makes up for this economic disadvantage by building Banks and generating coin automatically. The Dutch Home City emphasizes upgrades to defense and economy.
French
Although the French economy starts slowly, the Coureur unit, a Villager with strong fighting skills, makes the French difficult to attack early. The French also have the strongest cavalry unit in the game -- the Cuirassier. Plus, the French are experts at allying with the Native Americans.
German
The Germans have fewer Settlers and therefore a slower economy. Fortunately, both the Settler Wagon and Uhlan cavalry spawn for free from the German Town Center. Plus, the Germans start with the ability to send Mercenaries from their Home City (long before other civilizations can).
Native American
European civilizations can learn new technologies and gain troops by forging alliances with the Native Americans. A British player who allies with the Iroquois is essentially playing as two civilizations: the British and the Iroquois.
Ottoman
For the Ottomans, Settlers spawn automatically from the Town Center. Building a Mosque and conducting research help keep that Settler production steady. Befitting their position straddling Europe and Asia, the Ottomans have more unique units than any other civilization.
Portuguese
Starting the game with two Town Centers, the Portuguese can quickly produce Settlers, control territory or support their allies. The Spyglass ability allows the Portuguese to easily spy on the enemy. The Portuguese also have a strong navy, strong light infantry and the best Dragoons in the game.
Russian
Starting the game with extra resources but fewer Settlers gives the Russians the flexibility of focusing on economy or an early raid. Russian infantry, individually weak, are trained in blocks at a faster rate, providing the Russians with the opportunity to overwhelm their enemy with greater numbers.
Spanish
The Spanish have a strong military, with both hand infantry and cavalry. Flexibility in early shipments from the Home City give the Spanish the option to attack early or set up for a strong, late economy. Spanish Home City improvements benefit soldiers, buildings and naval units.
 

Combat
Age of Empires III gives players an amazing amount of control over their side of the battlefield. ?

  • More to command -- Not only are you in command of large and diverse armies of infantry, cavalry and artillery, but also Native American warriors, mercenaries and tall ships.
  • Multiple formations -- You can assign different formations to your army for different strengths and weaknesses, or have the game automatically choose the most appropriate formation. Examples include:
    • Volley -- ranged infantry, like musketeers, take turns firing at enemies ahead of them.
    • Charge -- your soldiers walk, then run into combat. Cavalry wield sabers, and musketeers fix bayonets. This formation does tremendous damage but makes your soldiers more prone to injury.
    • Bombard -- your soldiers protect the cannons, while the cannons shell enemy ranks. Available only when you have artillery in your army.
    • Battles are easier to follow -- You can still command individual units. But when the units fight in formation, you'll be able to tell exactly who is winning the fight.
  • Real-time physics -- Infantry struck by cannon fire will be thrown like rag dolls, perhaps even over a cliff and into the water. Cannonballs bounce and ricochet.
  • Detailed destructions -- Shingles, shutters and whole towers may fly off a building and interact with the terrain, such as crashing into nearby water. This next generation effect is done on the fly so that each building always has a unique destruction, no matter how many times you see it.
  • Unique animations -- With hundreds of unique combat animations, you'll never see the same battle twice.

Product Description

Strategy Game - 1 User - Complete Product - Standard - English - PC

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
330 of 354 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A successful installment in the Age of Empires Saga October 18, 2005
By JD
Fun: 4.0 out of 5 stars   
When I sat down with Age of Empires 3 I was hoping for a little more - something new and refreshingly different (ala the Lord of the Rings RTS for example). There is a new feature, the Home City. The rest of Age of Empires 3 is the same as the previous games at heart, with some new makeup and some new units. Don't get me wrong, this new Age of Empires installment is fun and just as addictive as its predecessors, but also feels tired at the same time. If you still enjoy the previous Age of Empires games, you will likely enjoy this one equally.

It has been some time since I played the previous Age of Empires 2 but I remembered a simple, relatively clean interface. In Age of Empires 3 I was a little taken aback by the clutter of information, and juggling Home City shipments (and Deck Building) with what was happening on screen requires a lot of micro-management.

This new installment has some great civilizations and in this regard, the units are new and refreshing. In an Age of exploration and the shift from archeic weapons to gunpowder, you have a variety of new units, and a few units that are unique to each civilization to help set them apart. In addition each civilization has its own unique advantages (and disadvantages) that set it apart from the rest. This is primarily done via a new feature: the Home City and the shipments you are allowed to send from it. I liked the idea of the Home City, but wasn't overly impressed with some aspects of its implementation.

The new units are fun and consist of both modern (for the period) and archeic units giving you some flexibility in what you want to field - however don't expect their power to be equal.
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161 of 185 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lackluster, but not without potential October 20, 2005
Fun: 4.0 out of 5 stars   
I agree with the other reviews citing this as being something of a letdown at first glance.

Edit for graphical update:
I originally found the graphics on this game to be lackluster. My system couldn't run it in remotely full detail and still be playable, so my game didn't look anything like the screenshots. So I did what any good gamer would do: bought a new system. Incredibly, even on a brand new fully speced out Alienware system with AMD 4000+ 64-bit processor, 2 gigs of RAM, and dual video cards (SLI, PCI Express) I *still* couldn't run the game in high resolution, high detail. It looks pretty but it chops when I try to scroll the screen. I think something is just plain broken with this game. Other games run awesome on the new system, but not this game.

Conclusion: you will never, ever play this game with it looking as good as it does on the screenshots. Yes, those are some mighty pretty trees but it's not going to be as pretty when you adjust down to Medium or Low quality textures because no reasonable computer system can have smooth gameplay with high resolution and high texture detail.

By comparison, LOTR: Battle for Middle Earth was quite attractive, even on my older computer. They aimed a bit lower but spent more time making lower settings look attractive and it paid off better in the end. I think the AOE3 team spent too much time perfecting high detail settings that most people can't use and not enough time on low/medium detail that most people will be forced to use.

Anyway, gameplay-wise, one bit of good news is the "home city" concept where you build your "decks".
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good enough, but I expected more after six years November 15, 2005
Fun: 3.0 out of 5 stars   
If you have never played any of the Age of Empires games before, then AOE 3 will probably seem pretty nifty. Judged strictly on its own merits, there isn't particularly anything wrong with the game in and of itself. However, there isn't much here that we haven't seen before. We waited six years, and this is the best they could do, apparently.

The graphics are very nice. However, is that enough to sustain one's interest. As other reviewers have noted, the combat quickly disintegrates into a disorganized slugfest, which really makes no sense to me. "Rise of Nations" certainly managed to provide combat sequences that were reasonably organized. It is frustrating to spend money on what are presumably well-trained troops, only to see them break ranks at the first hint of combat. The naval combat is a joke --- two ships firing broadsides at each other, with no attempts at maneuver. Anyone who has played "Port Royale" will know that one can expect better than this.

The focus on colonization, combined with conquest, reminds me of Sid Meier's old "Colonization" game, with a little "Europa Universalis" thrown in. The game handles it reasonably well, I suppose, although the "treasures" guarded by cougars, bears & desperados strikes me as a bit cartoonish. I can't say that I totally understand the purpose of the Victory Points that are awarded for successfully completing certain tasks, other than to open up new cards for your deck.

The deck at the Home City is an interesting new twist. As other reviewers have noted, this throws a monkey wrench into the "spread-sheet" approach to multi-player gaming. I mostly play solo, but I assume that the AI has similar access to decks, so that you cannot automatically assume that you know the true nature of your opponents.
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